Archive | August, 2010

I Love Uganda Deep Down In My Heart

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I Love Uganda Deep Down In My Heart

Posted on 31 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

When Visiting Orphans invited me to lead a mission trip to Ethiopia and Uganda, I will be honest… I was saving my love, energy, and time for Addis Ababa.  I had no intentions of falling in love with Uganda and was not anticipating the intense train wreck heading straight for my heart.   I was really excited to serve and explore a new country, even taking the time to google the two cities we were visiting – Kampala and Jinja.  The best part, I had no idea that God was preparing a big crazy surprise and life changing adventure that would rock my heart.  Here’s some of the facts I studied:

Map of Uganda Uganda is a country of stunning beauty and heartbreaking history of persecution.  It is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by Tanzania. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, which is also bordered by Kenya and Tanzania.

Between them, Ugandans speak an impressive forty or more different languages.  This is a result of Uganda’s ethnically diverse history, and the adoption of English as the main language during Uganda’s colonial years.  Uganda is a fascinating country, with a complicated history far too often involving bloodshed, violence and betrayal. Yet the people are among the most welcoming and determined to be helpful that you could meet anywhere in the world.

However, what soon became transparent to me was that Google failed to mention a single thing in any of the articles I read, about the individual heroes I would meet in Kampala and Jinja.  In fact, I wasn’t prepared for the kindness, hospitality, service, joy and love I would witness at every corner we turned.  I had no clue reading from my Google notes, that the children who are suffering atrocities on a daily basis, exemplify what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  I was completely unprepared meeting Pastors and Directors that literally gave everything they had to their congregation or village ministry.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the 7 days I spent in Uganda was the singing.  The children of Uganda love to sing!  They sing doing their chores, going to school, playing, worshiping… and even at bedtime.  I learned a new way of worship through music.  They didn’t have any hymn books or fancy instruments… just their voices and hands and pure joy.  My favorite song was simple… “I love you Jesus, deep down in my heart.  I love you Jesus, deep down in my heart.  So deep deep so down down, so deep down in my heart.  So deep deep so down down, so deep down in my heart.”  I heard that song a hundred times a day and it always brought tears to my eyes.

The people of Uganda embrace with all their hearts the simplicity of God’s love.  The hundreds of children that we had the honor of loving and serving taught us the only reason for living was worshiping God, loving God and longing for His return all day long.  I have never witnessed with my eyes, children worshiping with every fiber of their bodies.

In my next four blog posts, I want to share a story about each hero I met in Uganda.  My dear friends, Pastor Samuel, Rebecca Sorensen, Pastor Isaac and Katie Davis have made a crazy impact in Uganda.  This list does not include the countless children and staff we met along the way, but my four heroes are remarkable and courageous and dream makers and warriors for Jesus Christ.  I hope that you fall deep deep in love with Uganda, too.

Join me this week in celebrating the heartbeat of a country that is rich in spirit and love.  Bloggy friends, I want to know if you will pray about coming back with me to minister in Uganda with Visiting Orphans.  We have a brand new trip scheduled, June 2nd – 11th 2011.  You can sign up today!!  You can FaceBook Rebecca Sorensen and follow her new blog to learn more about My Father’s House Ministry and Royal Hope School in Kampala.

Bloggy readers, Let me know what you think in the comments about worship styles in different parts of the world that you have witnessed that made an impact on your life and how you worship.

Praising the Lord with music in Uganda

(videos by Joe)

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Mommy + Daughter Getaway

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Mommy + Daughter Getaway

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

I was so thrilled to take my two daughters on a getaway to Sanibel, FL a week after I returned home from Africa.  I missed them so much and it was a great way to reconnect, especially with my teenager.  I will admit, going to Sanibel in late August was not the smartest coolest thing to do.  The heat and humidity was pretty brutal, but floating in the pool can give the illusion of coolness.  We played on the beach in the morning and late afternoon, Zoie really loved running after the waves.

My favorite thing to do was walk up and down the beach looking for sea shells.  Hannah and I had a fun contest looking for the most unique looking shells.  She won hands down.  One night, I took the girls down to the ocean to watch the sunset.  Zoie sat in a low tide pool and played for an hour while Hannah and I sat and just talked.  It was one of those mommy moments I will never forget.  The three of us watched the pinkest sunset God has ever made.  I’m very thankful that my daughters love being with me and continue to make me laugh and play and skip through life.

Bloggy friends, I’d love to hear what your favorite thing to do on a girl’s getaway?

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3 Crazy Reasons to come with me on my Mission Trip.

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3 Crazy Reasons to come with me on my Mission Trip.

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

Check it out… Big Nanny goes on Visiting Orphans Mission trip- she’s officially part of the crazies!

BIG CRAZY NEWS- We have 2 more slots open to fill! If you are feeling a passion about this trip, please continue to pray and fill out the application when the time is right!!! Spots are filling up fast!!!!  Africa in July Blog.

My personal journey to missions-

I want to challenge you to come with me on this mission trip!  I waited 42 years before I went on my first mission trip.  I had yearned, and dreamed, and prayed for years, but never had the courage to really go!  I love kids and love traveling… why did it take me so long to go on missions.  I hate to admit this, but I was intimidated and it was never convenient for me to go.  I’m a stay at home mom and the timing just never seemed right for me.
My hubby was supportive, but not in a “do it now” kind of way.  I always had an excuse.  The money was usually my down fall.  I had no idea you could fundraise for a mission trip.  I assumed I needed to do it all on my own.  I felt responsible to raise the money or not go.  Why would anyone want to help me go on a “vacation.”  I never dreamed my family and friends would rally together and help me make my mission trip dreams come true.  Last summer, I was asked to go to Haiti with my church family.  I begged asked Roger to let me go.  This was it… I was determined to make it work.  Zoie was only 1 years old and my kids were starting school several days after the trip started.  I could feel the guilt seeping up in my heart, but I moved forward.  I knew I needed to go, but I had to raise $1,500 in two weeks.  I prayed and prayed that God would give me a creative idea.  I pushed my old fears down and moved forward with a plan.

Family and friends embraced my project and I raised $2,200 for Haiti!  I was able to purchase donations with the overflow and hand deliver the items personally.  It was a lot of work organizing the fundraiser, but once things got rolling, it was so much fun!  Please don’t make the same excuses I made for so many years…. pray, move forward and allow God to do the rest.  If the door is slammed shut in your face, well that’s OK.  Stand in line again, and move forward in a different direction.  I challenge you to call or email Visiting Orphans today and request an application. If your heart is stirring, don’t wait – start the ball rolling, especially if you feel excitement and joy and yearning when you read our itinerary.

Here’s 3 Crazy Reasons why you should come with me to Ethiopia & Uganda:
  1. Orphans desperately need you to come and simply love them- BASICALLY Haiti is happening to children all over this world….the media is just not covering it.  They lose their parents suddenly to HIV, malaria, malnutrition, starvation and other horrific ends to a life.  Or, they are traumatized as they are just abandoned and left with a feeling of worthlessness, feeling forgotten and not knowing the consistent love of a parent or anyone else.  Some orphans never even get to see outside of the building of their orphanage.  Orphans in this world, unless visited by God’s people, will not know their Savior as their Abba Daddy.  He is their Father and He is the only one who in our absence can give them the consistent love they were created to receive.  If we don’t go…who will go for us?  (thank you Amanda)
  2. Lose some weight with me- Are you loaded down with the weight of mommyhood?  The busyness of your life as a mom- the comfortable, conveniences of structure, playdates, Target runs, carpools, sports events… well, mission trips do a great job at shaking things up and forcing you to let go and serve out of your comfort zone.  Traveling to a foreign country can be really scary, but being immersed in a different culture allows you to see and smell and touch and taste and hear things that will literally change your life.  Leave your busyness at home (it will be there when you return) and open your hearts wide to crazy love orphans. 
  3. Be part of a God-Adventure- this means doing something radical, out of the normal, daily routine we get stuck in as moms.  You get to see God work in others lives and in your own life on a mission trip.  Plan on something going really crazy- this is all part of the adventure.  I encourage you to super-size your joy and patience and understanding and compassion and affection on a mission trip.  If you have set expectations, I guarantee you will be turned upside down.  Leave your expectations at home and allow God to guide your steps through Uganda and Ethiopia.

Here’s what one mom shared- “as an adopting Mom I first thought, I’m already doing my part, I’m adopting an orphan! While talking to my husband, I couldn’t stop crying because I was thinking about our baby. I kept asking, what if an American Mom was able to be in the orphanages everyday? What if we knew there were always volunteers through Visiting Orphans there to hold, feed and love our baby E? I know that my 14 days in Uganda and Ethiopia isn’t going to change the world BUT if Mom’s across our country would go and be present 365 days a year, it would change the lives of all the orphaned children.
July 19th isn’t really a “good time” for me to go on a Mission Trip. Who knows where we will be in the adoption, if we will have the money, or if I can emotionally handle it.  However, we pray, someone is there right now, regardless of the “right time” to hold our baby.” (Ashlie, mom to be)

If you are on the fence, trying to make every mommy detail perfect before you make the decision to go, I challenge you to jump down and pray forward.  Most of my readers are crazy moms, life will never be perfect for us to go on a mission trip, but I promise you that this trip will change your life.  Your family will benefit from you doing something so radical… you’ll be a crazier mom!

UPDATE- If you are sending out donation letters or asking for donations, please have all donations be written: Paid to the order of “Visiting Orphans”. In the memo section you may have the sponsor put your name. You will then turn in the these checks and Visiting Orphans will send the tax write off to the individual at the end of the year. If you have any questions please email (my co-leader) Ashlie
Crazy Talk…

I want to know what you’re thinking?  Does anyone else have a story to encourage each other to go on a mission trip… please share in comments.  Next week, I’ll share some crazy ideas to help you fundraise for a mission trip.


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Simply Love Korah


Simply Love Korah

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

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Newbie Heads to Uganda With 29

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Newbie Heads to Uganda With 29

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

I remember looking at Roger on the way to the airport and saying, “I don’t think I can do this.”  What in the world did I get myself into?  I was leading a team of 29 to Uganda (never been there) and Ethiopia.  I only personally knew 4 of the team members… Randi (my BF) Dee Dee (my childhood BF) Sarah (adoption friend) and Vit (adoptive friend’s brother)  The rest were complete strangers and I was really nervous… OK terrified!  I had dreamed of working in missions and was thrilled with the opportunity to lead a team, but when it all came down to it, I wasn’t going to be able to rely on my charm and good looks to survive in Africa. (ha)

The months preparing for the trip were busy, fun, and detailed.  I’m not a very detailed person, so I was thrilled I had a co-leader (Ashlie) who took the reins on that department.  She did a fantastic job conducting the conference calls, creating online charts, and answering the emails from the team.  I still don’t have the guts to tell her the one conference call I was in charge of, I missed!  She would kill me.  I literally passed by the note on my refrigerator- DONT FORGET CC TODAY! and drove off to Starbucks for an afternoon snack.  I returned home to multiple calls from the team making sure I was not dead.  I was so embarrassed and realized I had a lot to learn about being a fearless leader.

I wonder why God picked me to lead the July 2010 team?  At the time, I had no idea that my amazing co-leader was going to have her world interrupted by their adoption miracle and not be able to join us in Uganda.  I think if I would have had the slightest inkling, I would have run for the hills.  But, God had it planned all along and redirected the team to a little craziness… me. newbie. leader.

I met my team of 29 (Ashlie was already in Ethiopia) at Dulles Airport.  I saw the sea of Simply Love shirts and knew I could not run away.  I had the same T shirt on and was met with a big hug from Randi at the tram.  I tried hard to remember faces and names, but was working really hard to make sure I was breathing.  I met my substitute co-leader, Ernie and instantly loved him.  He raced around the airport for hours making sure tickets were correct and people made it to the gate.  I also sensed something extra special about the team.  As we made our way on the plane, we were all giddy and excited.  I zipped through security, but was instantly stopped by a very grumpy agent.  He literally grabbed my carry-on, tossed it on the scale, and told me I would not be able to board with the overweight bag.  I remembered reading in past emails from Visiting Orphans to stand firm if there were problems with the airlines, even if security was involved.  I basically grabbed my suitcase and ordered him to let me on the flight with my team!!  He grabbed my suitcase back and chewed me out for having such a heavy carry-on.  I was the only one left standing and started to panic.  I’m going to miss the flight and really mess things up for the team. I looked up and saw Randi and Vit standing in the doorway pleading with security to let them take some of the weight off.  We scrambled and repacked my bag.  It worked and I was able to roll on with my heart pounding and sweaty hands.

Fun Flight Pics:

(Me & Randi snoozing on 18 hr flight)

We arrived in Entebbe Uganda at 1:30 A.M. with 26 bags missing.  I paced like a crazed lioness at the luggage counter, but it did not make the bags magically appear.  The group was stellar and my 6 men worked for hours with two sleepy Ethiopian Airlines staff to make separate claims for each missing piece of luggage.  Can you spell N.I.G.H.T.M.A.R.E?  I was in a lather and decided it was time to take out my bottle of chill pills and start walking the walk.  I told my team for months to be flexible and joyful and relaxed when things got a little crazy.  This was the definition of crazy.

We stumbled into our hotel in the wee hours of the morning and crashed until lunch.  We met Pastor Samuel and started our adventure to Return Ministries, a special orphanage in the heart of Kampala.  I had no idea that my life would change radically in less than a few hours.

I can’t wait to share stories with you of our time in Kampala and Jinja, Uganda with the bravest children in the world.  Bloggy Question: I want to know if you would ever consider leading a mission team – why or why not?

Join me Feb. 2011 to Ethiopia for 10 days ministering with Visiting Orphans. Also, June 2011 to Uganda for 10 days ministering with Visiting Orphans.

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Craziness Started With Visiting Orphans!

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Craziness Started With Visiting Orphans!

Posted on 24 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

I can’t believe I’ve only been home 3 weeks from Africa!  It took me a long time to recover physically and emotionally, but now feeling the excitement bubbling inside my heart to share the good, bad and craziness with you.  I think the best place for me to start is from the beginning.  I would never have had the opportunity to lead a trip to Uganda and Ethiopia without the incredible ministry of Visiting Orphans.  I stumbled into the leadership role of an extraordinary team of 30 for reasons I still do not fully understand.  I am grateful for all the twists and turns that happened to redirect me, change me and guide me to serve in Africa.

The executive director of Visiting Orphans is my friend, Amanda Lawrence.  We have never met in person, but have a shared passion for missions, orphans, adoption and craziness.  She opened up her heart wide in faith and allowed me to jump on board due to our relationship with America World Adoption.  She has lead countless mission trips all over the world and taught me so much about leadership and serving with her grace and love for orphans.

My personality, as you know is a little on the crazy side, but Amanda poured her patience in abundance as she worked with me during the months preparing for the trip.  The best part, announcing to her that I was going for a week to Alaska with my family the week before the trip.  She never wavered in kindness, understanding and willingness to help.

I wanted to give my best effort as a newbie leader and allow God to lead through me.  God lovingly taught me through my team how important it was to be flexible, patient, joyful, loving, and courageous every step of the way.  I was so humbled.  I watched my team demonstrate love and generosity and compassion to every single person they ministered to.

(Thank you team-  Ashlie, Ernie, Randi, Dee Dee, Vit, Kevin, Judson, Juliana, Kari, Carrie, Joe, Emily, Darrell, Cherie, Ashlie, Amanda, Beza, Carly, Chaye, Cynthia, Cynthia, Eryn, Janette, Jen, Karen, Kinsey, Lindsey, Marge, Rebecca, Sarah for loving radically in Africa!!)

In the next few weeks, I want to celebrate on my blog the incredible people we met in Uganda and Ethiopia.  I have so many stories and photos to share with my readers.  I want to dig deep down in my heart and tell you how God changed my life.  I pray that God will use our craziness in Africa to help spread His message of love and service and ministry to orphans.

I want to invite you to join me on a bloggy adventure to Africa.  I hope that you will read the stories, leave your comments and share your own personal stories of mission trips and orphan care.  We are all in this together.  If you have any questions please email me.

My New Crazy Mission Trips 2011

I will be leading two trips in 2011.  Please join me serving orphans in Africa!!  You can go directly to the website Visiting Orphans to sign up today!!  The first 5 men who sign up for the trips will receive a FREE Man Up T shirt!!!

10 Day Ethiopia Trip:  February 17th – 26th 2011

  • Leaders- Kari & Roger Gibson and co-leader Kelly Blackwell

10 Day Uganda Trip: June 2nd – 11th 2011

  • Leaders- Kari Gibson and Michael Smalley

Men Needed- Visiting Orphans has available spots for an Uganda Mission trip Dec. 28 to Jan. 12!! Sign up today!!

Visiting Orphans vision is simple:

  • To enlist Church volunteers to visit orphanages so they may meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs of orphans.
  • To develop relationships, provide comfort and to share the Gospel with orphans.
  • To provide financial aid for child sponsorship, medical assistance and construction to improve the living conditions of orphans.
  • To mobilize Christian churches to help orphans experience the blessing of family.

Visiting Orphans mission is simple:

Visiting Orphans is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  Established in 2005 by America World Adoption Association as a way to further help the orphans of the world. Visiting Orphans works to fulfill the biblical mandate given in James 1:27 of “visiting orphans” in their distress.

Visiting Orphans has conducted many missions trips for churches, schools, and individuals from around the United States to orphanages around the world including China, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia and Costa Rica.

Looking ahead, VO’s plan of action is to begin mobilizing and working more directly with churches in the United States.  While we will still work with individuals and schools in order to bring people to orphans and expose them to the hardships they face,  partnerships with churches will drive our expansion and positive impact on orphaned children around the world.

Visiting Orphans works with Christian churches to help raise orphan awareness in the hopes of each orphan experiencing the blessing of family through:
1.  Reunification
2. Transitional Services
3. Adoption

If you are part of a church looking to start or expand your orphan ministry we would love to assist you!

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Sierra Leone Adoption Miracles

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Sierra Leone Adoption Miracles

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

Just nine short months ago, The Raining Season opened the doors of The Covering, a children’s home in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  Since that time we have experienced joy, fear, sorrow, and pleasure of the ups and downs to doing the “bigger” plans that God always has for us.  The Raining Season is an organization whose mission is to provide a hopeful future to orphaned children and impoverished families through meeting their basic needs such as housing, nourishment, education, and small business grants.  Our organization is made up of ordinary people doing extraordinary things who have allowed our eyes to be opened to the desperate needs in Sierra Leone.   When God began to stir in the hearts of the founders to open The Covering the path was unclear.  We did not even have a building secured the week before we went to open it, but it is true that God always provides.  Once we got there we had a beautiful building, lots of materials, staffed hired and trained but only 3 children there to enjoy their new beds, clothes and toys.  It didn’t take long to start filling the halls and rooms with the sweet voices of the children who were so grateful to be in a place where they are loved and provided with the essence of family.  Now here we are nine months later and we are housing 79 children and busting at our seams.  We are totally out of space and are frequently asked to bring more children into our home.  There is nothing we would rather do than to rescue even more children, but we need help.  God’s plans are always bigger than ours so we are believing for a new building to house those many more children in need of shelter, clothes, food and love.

Here are some of the beautiful girls from The Covering

The Raining Season has partnered with Warm Hearts Group out of Springfield, MO which is an organization designed to help raise awareness and funds for the orphans in Sierra Leone as well as in our local communities.  Warm Hearts Group is dedicated to host fundraisers for travel and the specific needs of The Raining Season  throughout the year.  So many people are always looking for ways to get involved and help.  We believe we are all called to Save the Orphan “For you know all about it, the contempt the abuse.  I dare to believe the luckless will get lucky someday in you.  You won’t let them down, Orphans won’t be orphans forever”  psalm 10:14, but so many people just don’t know how to help.  If you want to be involved, Warm Hearts Group is a local organization and we are ready to help get you plugged in.  If you can provided a donation, we have very specific needs for funds right now.  We are raising money for a building fund, we are sending a medical/educational team the first week of September, and we still have 27 kids in need of sponsorship.  Remember we are all just ordinary people who have said “yes” to that tug on our hearts.   If you want to say “yes” to donating to The Covering or sponsoring a child please visit the website  If you want to say “yes” to going on a medical mission trip, please contact Lori Pyle at .  If you want to say “yes” to joining Warm Hearts Group, please email Lori Pyle at or Tiffany Johnson at

There are so many needs in Sierra Leone and you can help!!!

This is a mother and precious child who was severely malnourished in the Children’s Hospital.

We provided bread/water/and a small gift bag for them.

(photo above) This is Malige and Emmanuel at The Covering. Malige was just diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia and is 8 years old. Emmanuel is 4 but very close in size to his favorite buddy.

If you…or someone you know would be willing to give up 10 days to bring health and healing to some of our most vulnerable children please contact us as soon as possible. Please spread the word and once again….

Thank you for helping SAVE the ORPHAN

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Coming Soon… My Africa Trip Blitz!

Coming Soon… My Africa Trip Blitz!

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

My dear crazy readers, I have had an incredible time reading all your guest posts and soaking up your amazing comments!!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to interact and share your thoughts back to my guests.  I have been bloggy MIA since returning from Africa.  It has taken me time to recover, play with my kids, and end the summer with a bang.  I miss Africa deep down in my heart.  There are so many photos and stories to share with you that honestly, I don’t exactly know where to start.  My heart is bursting with change and joy and sorrow and purpose from the people I had the honor of ministering with in Africa.  I pre-warned my extraordinary team they would feel crazy emotions coming home and I’m completely emersed in working through my own feelings.

My life has changed, but struggling how to express the change in words.  Please pray for me as I continue to shift through the 14 days I spent in Africa.  I’m praying specifically on the “it” God wants me to pursue on a personal level.  God opened the door for miracles and directed our steps to ministries that desperately need our help to grow, survive and thrive for His purpose.

I will also announce soon two 10-day mission trips back to Ethiopia and Uganda in 2011.  I want you to join me on a radical trip that will change your heart to pieces.

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Daddy On Diaper Duty- just for laughs

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Daddy On Diaper Duty- just for laughs

Posted on 17 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

Actor and Comedian Jay Mohr shares his own real-life potty-training tale that’s pee-in-your-pants funny!!

When my son, Jackie, first came home from the hospital, I was promptly sent out to buy diapers. So off I went. I quickly realized that I didn’t have a clue where to find them or how they were sold. Did they come bound up like firewood? Should I check the frozen area? I was astonished to find that our local supermarket has an entire diaper aisle. Not a row or a shelf. Aisle 3 is all diapers! There were way too many choices for me: Huggies Snug & Dry, Huggies Little Snugglers, Huggies Little Movers, Huggies Overnights.

A few times I came home with the wrong ones because I thought the baby on the package had to match the baby I had at home, like Garanimals. I would walk back and forth and mutter, “Hey, all these kids are Asian or black. Aren’t there any white-baby diapers?”

I now know that babies come in different sizes and shapes and that companies put out every conceivable type of diaper to accommodate them all. I once saw a bag of diapers that read, “Holds up to 50 pounds.” Holy Moley! If your son goes to the bathroom and unloads 50 pounds, he doesn’t need a diaper; he needs a job. Maybe some manual labor down at the docks is more suitable for your monster baby.

Jackie wore diapers until he was 3, and potty-training him was a huge trial. I was concerned because he wore Huggies number 6 at the time, and I couldn’t find a higher number on the store shelves. What was my next choice if I didn’t get him to use the toilet in time? Hefty bags?

Adult diapers are mixed in with the baby diapers at most stores. Many times I’ve stopped and stared at them and thought to myself, “It’s not a bad idea.” We’ve all been stuck in traffic on the way to work after eating a bran muffin and having that extra cup of coffee. Halfway through your commute your belly starts rumbling, and you just gotta go. Forget car-pool lanes. There should be an “I’m about to poop my pants!” lane. No one would have road rage anymore. If you got cut off by some woman wedging her way into the “I’m about to poop my pants!” lane, you’d think to yourself, “Aww, poor gal, I’ll let her in. She has cloth seats.”

I’ve driven from Los Angeles to Las Vegas at least 100 times. About 15 percent of the time I get stuck in bum-per-to-bumper traffic in the desert and think, in all sincerity, that I should have worn a diaper. With adult diapers, we’d all drive to work carefree. Like little kids, we’d just let loose when it was time. Hopefully our parents would be at work waiting to change and powder us. Either them or a very understanding colleague.

One night when Jackie was visiting his grandparents, my wife, Nik, and I started musing about why kids are so averse to using the potty. From a very young age, they want to be exactly like us. They try to dress and speak like us. They copy our mannerisms while we talk on the phone. But they can’t seem to give up peeing and pooping in their pants. We wanted to know why.

“Is it because it feels good?” Nik wondered. “It can’t feel good to stand there in your own pee. Don’t get me wrong: It would be awfully convenient not to have to pull the car over or leave a work meeting to pee.”

We started making a list of things that would run more smoothly if grown-ups wore diapers. Factories would double their output because employees could stay seated at their station all day. College students would never have to leave lecture halls. And sleep! Imagine how much more uninterrupted rest we’d all get if we wore diapers under our pajamas.

Eventually our diaper discussion led to this: My bride asked if I’d ever worn an adult diaper. I told her I hadn’t. She said she hadn’t, either. At that exact moment we knew what would happen next: We had to make a run to the grocery store, buy some diapers, race home, and try them out.

We got dressed, wearing our secret underneath. Now it was a waiting game. In hindsight, we should have drunk more water beforehand. Neither one of us had to pee right away, so we just walked around the house giggling. Eventually I said to Nik, “The funniest part is that we’re laughing hysterically and it’s only a joke for two people.”

She walked toward me slowly and replied, “No, the funniest part is that you … don’t … know … that … I … am … peeing … right … now!”

She was right.

The laughing reached dangerous levels — the kind where you have to walk out of the room because you feel like if you don’t stop, you will die.

Suddenly I was jealous. Nik had peed in a diaper and I hadn’t. I leaned against the wall, trying to will out a stream. When I was finally successful, it was euphoric. No wonder Jackie had given us such a hard time about being potty trained. Peeing in a diaper is a freaking awesome experience! To my surprise, it wasn’t wet and disgusting. The diapers were amazingly absorbent, and whatever pee came out of me magically vanished into the lining.

I’ll be honest (heck, I’ve gone this far): I could easily wear an adult diaper every day. I want to wear one on plane rides and every time I drive to Vegas.

Nik and I learned a lot that night. We found out what it was like to be 3 years old. We learned that Jackie was hesitant to ditch his diapers because they were so convenient. Thanks to our stupid, laughter-filled experiment, we understood our child better.

I’m not suggesting you wear an adult diaper to help you relate to your kid. However, I do recommend putting one on so you’ll know how great it feels to pee in your car. If you decide to try it, don’t tell anybody. After all, I just told you, and now you think I’m a freak.


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Crazy Guest Blogger #19 – Adoption Dreams

Posted on 14 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

First , I would like to give a little background of our family. My husband ( I will be giving everyone fake names to protect our children’s privacy), Henry and I have been married 28 years now and lost one baby early in the pregnancy and then gave birth to three wonderful healthy babies( a daughter,son and a son) over the course of 3 years. They have been the joy of our lives. They were around the ages of 10,11,14 years old and I began to feel a deep longing for another child. I, of course, started to talk to my husband about this desire and He, of course, had no interest in starting over again. We are a family who camps, hikes, bikes, swims, travels, and anything else that comes to mind, we keep pretty busy. Henry had no time for diaper bags and high chairs and such anymore. He was very much against the whole idea. I kept feeling this deep deep desire to have another baby, but any healthy marriage is not built on one person’s desires alone. It really does take two. I kept talking to my hubby and he kept saying No.This deep deep burning desire in my heart continued to burn stronger and with great intensity. I kept in prayer the whole time over the matter and was seeking to find answers in God’s Word. Some of my favorite scriptures that I leaned on heavily were as follows, Matthew:21-21 and 22. Matthew:7-7-11. Some people said to me that scripture doesn’t really mean what it says,( it leaves room for interpretation) but I will tell you from the depths of my heart , that what God says , He means, He is faithful and He never leaves His children forsaken nor does He ever break His promises. I am a very literal person and I take God’s word as it is written. But be cautioned, don’t pray for your will ,  always seek the will of the Father.

This desire just continued to grow and I was becoming overwhelmed with such a burning in my heart, with no answers in sight. To make it even harder, I began to have dreams.The dreams of a baby in a hospital cradle.The baby was always well,healthy,and taken care of. This baby was mine but I could not have it or touch it. First the dreams were only once a month then they increased to once a week and then every night . I was beginning to think I would loose my mind.( One night the baby in my dreams died.) I was devastated. The next night, there was a brand new baby and it was healthy and it was mine). The Lord began to really speak to my heart and asked me to pray for Henry’s heart. But Lord , I would say, Do you know who we are talking about here? He has a heart of steal over this matter and I can’t move him. The Lord said to me, I do know His heart ,” I Made His Heart! I began to pray and exactly 1 month after , God moved Henry’s heart to obedience and Henry then approached me and said, Honey let’s fill out the paper work, let’s get the home study done and see just where God is leading us. At this decision, the DREAMS STOPPED and we had such a peace come over our home. ( God’s peace that passes all understanding.)  We then pressed on with our seeking to find God’s will in all of this and were lead to get our home study done through the state in which we live. We then became  licensed through the state to adopt and foster. ( This was all free ). We were working on our home study and one of the social workers said to me, (You will never get an infant) ! I will tell you that God is not held back by mans rules or decisions!!! I became very discouraged over the matter however and began to pray for all of this stuff to just go away. I could not understand this intense desire only to be smashed to the ground.

One day I was with my mother-in-law and she had a magazine with her , she had to run into a store for a moment so I stayed behind and waited . I glanced down at her magazine that she had carelessly thrown onto the seat as she got out and I saw an article that caught my attention. The article read as follows, “When you are seeking the Lord with your whole heart ,when you want nothing but His will for your life,then those desires that remain and grow in your heart are His desires,His will for you”. I stopped praying for Him to take away this desire and knew without a doubt that God was at work. Henry and I had finished the last page of our home study and I had one more dream. In this dream, The Lord God showed me this precious bundle that was coming. I actually saw her all dressed in pink and she was finally ours. Three weeks later we received a call from an acquaintance of ours who attended our church. She is a social worker, counseling people at the local hospitals so they can make hard decisions when needed.( She even tried this day to not go to work because her child was ill. She only worked one day a month also. She was not afilliated with the state or the foster system). She knew that we were looking for a child , but was lead by the pull of the Holy Spirit on her heart to call us that day. There were other people in that maternity ward working that day who tried to claim this baby girl , but God once again came through. Something I need to tell you about this situation is that the Birth mom is a Crack cocaine user and if you will remember, earlier in my story I said that the one baby in my dreams died and that there was a new one?! The birth mother had lost a baby 20 weeks into her pregnancy and then conceived our miracle baby directly after. When birth mom delivered our miracle, she was high on crack but our baby had pure blood and NO signs of crack in her body at all. The whole time of doing our home study and longing so deeply for this child that God was preparing me for, I had many times of God’s sudden thumb dip deeply in my back and I felt the deep need to pray for this child that I did not know of or when, but I knew that I was to pray suddenly for this persons safety and I would fall to my knees there and then and pray.

I now understand why. God must have wrapped his hands around her in her Birth mothers womb and protected her through his guiding me to pray. It was a very long process over the next weekend as we waited to make sure that the Birth mother had made up her mind. Then we had to post through the newspapers for some 60 days to confirm that the biological father could not take the child as well. When my husband and I saw her for the first time, I said , Honey that is the baby I saw in my dreams exactly. As she was in my hubby’s arms I reached down to her little face and said her name to her and she smiled the largest and longest smile I have ever seen on a newborn of 2 days old. We were in love instantly and realized forever that God is listening to our prayers and He really does mean to ASK, SEEK , KNOCK !! He really does mean to take him at his word and have FAITH. I can only imagine the Store House of gifts that our Father has for us , if only we will trust , if only we would ask and believe in our hearts that He is working in our midst and loves us so much,that he wants to give us so many treasures that he has made for us. We must seek His will , not our own. We must wait on the Lord to make his move and please , pray, pray, pray ! Our little girl is 10 years old now and is one of the biggest blessings in our lives. She is so compassionate for others and their needs.

The story goes on… when our little miracle was 28 months old , God moved again. As my hubby and I and our little one were coming home from a business trip that we had been on, it was 8:28 PM and my hubby said , honey , don’t you think it would be nice to have another little girl to adopt so our little one would not have to grow up alone ! I said Yes , but He did not know that God had been preparing me for another baby. It was a Friday night when he said this and the very next morning, our friend called us and said, what are you guys up to today? Henry thought she was inviting us to go out to eat with her and her hubby. She said , there is this baby girl who was born last night at 8:28 and she is waiting for her mommy and daddy to come and meet her. She is our fabulous , beautiful 8 year old now and one of the biggest blessings in our lives. Last year God did it again ! We received a phone call from a local agency on a Winter night and they said , Birth mom has chosen you to adopt her two toddlers, ages 2 and 3 ! We had to stop and really think about this , but God has called and opened those doors and we must obey and follow. It is not for us to decide when to follow, we must follow when He calls. I will tell you that there are issues and challenges and blessings and joys and discouragements and frustrations and happiness !! I need to also say that God has designed a perfect plan with adoption being a very real option to build our family. When you give birth, you don’t know everything about that child and you would not send him or her back. Adoption is the same. We have a blessed family. Is it perfect? NO!

We are however enjoying knowing that we have obeyed and that God has richly Blessed us. On a funny note, Henry hopes that the adoption line from Heaven has closed. We now have our 7 children, 3 are grown and each married. We also have 2 fabulous grandchildren, our grandson is almost 2 and his baby sister is 9 weeks. By the way, three fertility specialist told our daughter and son-in-law that they would never conceive, they did not do any fertility help , they said that if the Lord chooses to give them children He will provide. We began to pray and fast, we now have these precious babies from the Lord and they are blessings. When you pray and seek, and ask and knock and seek Gods will, you will not be able to take in all that the Lord will provide to you !!!! Please note that the Birth Mothers among us are to be Thanked for the incredible gifts that they give. Thank you Birth Mothers for carrying your Babies to term and Loving them so much. You are Treasures from the Lord. You gave these babies Life, and then you Bless us with them and we give them Direction. Thank you ! We are Blessed  !!! Yours in the Lord, bb

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Crazy Guest Blogger #18 – The Redmore Family Story

Posted on 10 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

Our Crazy Adoption Story

When Kari asked for readers to post crazy stories for her blog I knew our adoption story fit right in. I’m sure there are many people in this world who would consider me crazy. And probably just as many would consider my husband crazy for believing in me. But, I don’t think we’re crazy, I think we have FAITH.

You see God talks to me. Doesn’t that sound crazy? You can’t go around shouting that or you’re likely to be put in a straight jacket. Maybe I should rephrase that statement. The Holy Spirit has whispered to me in the past. Is that better? Maybe? It has only happened a couple times, but each time was very powerful.

My husband and I have four biological children and live in a small town of 20,000 people where international adoption is an odd occurrence. We don’t have a lot of money or an excessive amount of patience or time to spare. But, when God asks you to step out on a limb and your faith in Him is strong, you do it.

Between June of 2006 and July of 2007 I was having a very hard time deciding if adoption was something I wanted for myself or was something God had put on my heart. I didn’t see how it could work out if it was all me. I knew that we needed guidance and support if this adoption idea was to be a success. We had a small 1,200 square foot house, four children and didn’t have the $20,000+ that it would take to adopt. I saw no way to make it work, but I knew that if it were a God thing, I didn’t need to worry, He could handle all of it.

In August of 2008 I was on a church retreat weekend and praying unceasingly for guidance. The Christian band Third Day had just released a new album called Revelation. The title track became my mantra over the weekend, “give me revelation, show me what to do, I’ve been trying to find my way, but I haven’t got a clue.” I prayed for God to directly show me or tell me. I’m not so good at the subtle.

On Sunday afternoon during a talk about perseverance, I prayed again, this time because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. “Dear God, if this topic of perseverance is relevant to me please let me understand.” Almost immediately I heard “Find her.” It was a calm voice near my right shoulder. I knew exactly what He meant, you’re missing a daughter, go find her. My response was less than faithful. “No, you don’t mean that, how can I possibly? We don’t have the money. I don’t have the patience or ability to mother five children.” I had all of these thoughts in a flash, and then I heard it again “Find her.” This time the voice was not as calm, He was almost scolding me. I was quickly reminded that all things are possible through him.

A lot has happened since that day. Our adoption journey has been a long one, longer than average I believe. But, it’s all in God’s time. We are only now to the point of completing our home study. God has shown us that it will all work out, that he has the answers to all the “problems” I see. I’m not saying we don’t have questions and doubts, I believe that’s a part of human nature. But, piece by piece with Faith our adoption puzzle is coming together.

The above family photo was taken by Liz Foley Photography in Northwestern Illinois and I expect will be the first image our daughter sees of her new family.

The bracelet in the second photo is one I wear almost every day, if you look closely you can see five names, our four bio kids and the name we’ve chosen for our daughter we’ve yet to find.

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When People Don’t Agree

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When People Don’t Agree

Posted on 07 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

When people don’t agree.
(Erica Shubin’s Blog)

As a fund raising family there are definite up’s and down’s in this process. It’s important to have people in your corner. Really important to have at least one person that is there to walk this journey out with you through those up’s and down’s. You will run into all sorts of people and their comments during this process. People who support you 100%, all of the time both in word and action. People who say how “saint like” you are, people who keep up with you but don’t say a word about your adoption leaving you wondering where exactly they stand on that whole thing anyways. Still others who make comments that make you cringe, and others who love you no matter what and can’t wait to help welcome your child home.

Adoption is one of the CRAZIEST adventures I’ve ever been on. It’s CRAZY out there to raise $30,000 in a short period of time. But it’s even CRAZIER to do nothing at all!

Check out a few reasons why WE are CRAZY about adoption and CRAZY about being a fund raising family.

A few facts about our fund raising and maybe some of this will resonate with you as well.

1. We are not “requiring” that anyone participate in financially supporting our adoption. We have asked for support which let me tell you is NOT comfortable for us. The Lord has worked on us in that area and it has taken a lot to even get to the place where we are open about our financial need in order to pay the ransom to bring our daughter home. A humbling spot to be for sure.

2. In our hearts it is an honor and a privilege to help other families who are also raising a ransom to bring their child/children home. We KNOW what the cost is to adopt, because of that we LOVE to help in any way possible to share that burden with other families. With that in mind we don’t want anyone to feel “obligated” to give to our adoption. However we know MANY of you WANT to share this financial burden with us and have shared that you LOVE being apart of our story and for that we are grateful. Let me say again we DO NOT want anyone to feel like they HAVE to participate in this with us. God WILL provide in His perfect timing. This is NOT about us. This is about what God has laid on our hearts, about children that need families, and about a willingness to make an orphan our daughter. That’s it.

3. If you are questioning if we are contributing to our own adoption PLEASE let me set your mind at ease. YES. ABSOLUTELY 100% YES! We have cut SEVERAL things in order to save money so we can invest in the life of our daughter so that we can help pay her ransom. We will be investing spiritually, emotionally, and financially in the life of our daughter for the rest of our days here on this earth. So please don’t think that just because we are fund raising that it means we’re not sacrificing. We absolutely are. We are honored to do it.

I want to raise awareness on being a fund raising family and why we feel so blessed that God has not only called us to adopt but called us to RAISE A RANSOM for our daughter. Being a fund raising family is a vulnerable place to be. We have opened ourselves up for criticism by sharing our need, our story, and we’ve gotten it. We’ve invited others to be a part of what God is doing in our family and so many of you have graciously embraced that and shared in this financial burden with us. We are so blessed to be on this journey, so humbled that God has called us to this.

Just as much grace has been given to us we will return that grace to others and pray that eyes would be opened to the beauty of being a fund raising family. I honestly don’t know if I’d want it any other way. Having the support we have experienced through this process is not something we take for granted. Because of HIS Crazy Love for Us! To God Be The Glory!

If you are a fundraising family please comment on this blog post with your blog link so I can come visit your blog and encourage you along this crazy adoption road! I’d love to read about what God is doing in your lives through adoption!

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

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Crazy Guest Blogger #16 – Preparing For Craziness

Crazy Guest Blogger #16 – Preparing For Craziness

Posted on 05 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

So many times in life we spend months and months even years preparing for a BIG DAY: a birth, a wedding, an adoption, a graduation that we forget that life continues after that moment has passed. It’s great to be prepared and excited about milestones and I believe that we should cover all our lives in prayer, but I think we tend to forget what happens next.

You might have had the most beautiful wedding dress that was hand-beaded by a master beadstress and tulips hand delivered from Holland and a horse-drawn carriage that would have put Cinderella to shame, but odds are in the grand scheme of things it won’t matter one little bit. You and your husband will still argue about whose turn it is to wash dishes in August when your air conditioner and dishwasher are both broken. Your toilet on the second floor will clog and overflow while you’re at work and the resulting flood will soak through the ceiling and ruin the carpet in your living room. Life goes on no matter how pretty or memorable that moment was.

My husband and I have become parents three times over (just one…or two…more, honey, please?!) in the last four years, twice by birth and once by adoption. Each time we spent nine months with prayers and preparation getting ourselves to the point where we could say with confidence “We are Ready” even though we knew you can never be ready-ready. And each time, we have walked into our house with our new child and said to each other “what happens next?” Despite our best intentions and despite the fact that we learned something that helped us the next time we were still left feeling a little (or a lot) dizzy that the preparation stage was over. It didn’t matter anymore. Maybe there were some great photos or maybe not. But no matter what we had to carry on because life wasn’t going to pause while we caught our breath and figured out what the next move was. (You just pray on the run!)

Our toddler adoption is less than two months old (at the writing of this post) and so there are lots of moments that I am still praying on the run, wondering what’s going to happen next, and thinking of things that I wish we would have known or done not so that our “moment” could have been better, but that would have given us a little more peace and direction afterward. Because it turns out that what happens after an adoption is…..LIFE!

So these are my Top Ten Tips for Easing Into Life Post-Adoption (they are not in order because I am not that organized. My apologies.)

1. Schedule your appointments: These will vary by situation but you will have multiple appointments in the first three months with your pediatrician, international adoption doctor, early intervention specialists, social worker, therapist, and a specialist or two. It will be much easier to make phone calls and think clearly BEFORE you have your child home. Schedule them in advance and write them on a big calendar.

2. Gather your friends: You need a friend who listen to your complaints without judging and without trying to fix them, she will cheer you on and marvel at how wonderfully you are coping, a friend who will listen to your complaints and then help you problem-solve through them, a friend who has been there before you and you can say anything to her, a friend who will be there after you and you will have words of advice and encouragement for, a friend who will meet you for coffee, and a friend who will come over and clean up your kitchen and serve you coffee.

3) Be aware: You might come home and everything will be sunshine and lollipops and then again, maybe not. It would have been so helpful for us to have resources lined up for when we started to have trouble. Have an actual list printed up that has your social worker’s phone number, your agency’s phone number, the pediatrician, an attachment therapist, an international medicine doctor, your pastor, early intervention, and any adoption related services in your area. Pray that you won’t ever need it, but be prepared in case you do.

4) Line up inspiration: Being a parent is hard under the best of circumstances and I’ve found it so helpful to have something that lifts my mind and my mood immediately available to me. I have index cards with Bible verses on them throughout my house, I have music that makes me want to dance, music that cheers up my soul, etc readily available to me. It’s great just to walk into the hallway and see some Scripture taped to my wall or turn on iTunes see a playlist of my favorite hymns. I even had my parents write out some of their favorite verses for me because it cheers me up to see their handwriting.

5) Relax: You’ve just got to be able to relax. Have a cup of coffee, watch your favorite movie, leave the house and go for a run, whatever it is that makes you feel good before your adoption will make you feel good after your adoption. And you need to do it whether you think you need it or not. You might not realize how much you needed it until you do it for the first time and you feel yourself take a deep breath and let your shoulders drop below your ears.

6) Don’t judge: Don’t judge yourself, your husband, your child, or other people. This is actually a good life lesson, but whenever you can put it into practice is good. We all know what we have in our heads as “The Way It Shall Be” and maybe it will come to pass and maybe it won’t, but the chances are that you’re going to be okay anyway. This really is your LIFE that you’re living and even if you thought you’d never ever ever let your baby cry for ten minutes until you’d been home for ten months you might find that you just really need a shower and ten minutes of your own cry time and it will be okay. Will it be perfect? Nope, but perfect is for heaven. Maybe you thought that you would be on a precise schedule and your baby would just fall into place and it turns out that schedules stress your baby out and you have to go loosey-goosey. It will be okay. Will it be perfect? Nope, but perfect is for heaven. Learn to give and receive grace.

7) Stock Up: Seriously! Do! This! Buy in bulk before you think you need to because sometimes your timeline speeds up and all of a sudden you have thirteen days instead of three months to bring your child home…. Toilet paper, canned soup, diapers, wipes, paper towels, feminine supplies, crackers, Oreos, ice cream, Kool-Aid, soda, etc., by the time you NEED these things it is too late and inconvenient to go and get them. I don’t care if you stuff them under every bed in your house and the cashier at Costco thinks that you’re stocking up for a delayed Millennium disaster. You will be so happy that you have these things in advance. I can’t even explain to you how great it will be to tell your husband there are Ramen noodles under the guest bed if he’s hungry and while he’s up there to please grab you another pack of Double-Stuff Oreos. It will cover a multitude of forgotten things.

8) Practical Help: We live (sob sob) far away from family, but we do have a great church that helped us out. It’s really great to have one person who will tell you in advance that they will be in charge of scheduling your meals and arranging any other help that you’re going to get from church or work. Give that person a map to your house, tell them what time you usually eat and when is too late to call and let them manage people who want to bless you. If you have close friends or family who want to help you with things like cleaning or carpooling again, please let them, you can return the favor later. Let someone be the Go-To Person and tell them in advance what you need help with whether it’s carpooling your kids around, folding a load of towels, or bringing you frozen dishes of lasagna. I wish in our practical help that I would have asked some people to bring us Ethiopian food from a restaurant more often. I wish I had prepared more of it in advance. See if you can find someone to bring a little bit of “home” into your child’s new home in the days before it’s easy for you to do so.

9) Plan on Quiet: I think that it’s just respectful of the immensity of adoption to give the kiddos a quiet introduction to their new family and new life. Keep it low-key as far as outings, visitors, and welcoming. Even if you have a chill baby/child who doesn’t seem to mind don’t forget to look at what’s happening (and what’s been lost) from their point of view. Let them get used to the immediate family and the house and slowly branch out from there at a pace that is manageable for them. Our lives in the western world include so much that I think with even our best efforts at peace and quietness fall somewhat short and our tendency will be to overwhelm.

10) Know Your Stuff: Don’t skimp on the adoption book reading. Some of it is intense and scary, but there’s a reason for that…adoption can be intense and scary. Hoping that it won’t be isn’t an excuse not to be prepared. Pick a few techniques that you want to try and make plans on how you’re going to use them: ASL signs and regression to bottles were two that were helpful to us. Expand your horizons past the literature that’s from adoptive parents and read about what adult adoptees have to say, read and listen without judging because you haven’t walked in their shoes. Know your child’s culture as much as you can without having lived it, have respect for that culture and be able to talk about it in a positive and honest way. Do you have any connection to people from your child’s racial background in your local area (I hope so!) but be ready to integrate that culture and those resources in your life as soon as possible. Know what’s out there and make use of it. Know about grieving and what it looks like in a child of your child’s age. Know what post adoption depression looks for and what you’re going to do about it. Know your Bible verses. Take advantage of the time you do have to prepare because it will be shorter than what you think and you will wonder what you did with all your “free-time” once you have your little one home!

Remember that it’s not just about preparing for the first time you see him/her, or the party at the airport or a baby shower three days after you’re home. You are preparing for the long-haul, preparing for the hard times, but praying for the best of times. You’re preparing not just a nursery, not just for your adjustment, but for easing the aching heart of your little one and for the sweet life you’re going to share together.

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Guest Tom Davis Shares – Water Parks

Guest Tom Davis Shares – Water Parks

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Kari Gibson

1 in 6 people on the planet does not have access to clean water. In round numbers that’s about a billion people.

It’s hard to imagine life without clean water because in the U.S. we have so much of it. In fact, we’re so rich, we play in it.

[Disclaimer: This video contains one profane word.]

Did you laugh?

It’s that last part that I think drives the point home. He says, “Yuck, I got some in my mouth!” The water we swim in is not fit to drink? Yet, if you served it over ice, it would probably not kill you as fast as the dirty mud holes and contaminated rivers of Africa. Like the water these kids are pulling from the river.

There are people working on clean water throughout the world. Children’s HopeChest, Charity:Water, Healing Waters, and Water4Christmas are just a few of the organizations making a difference. Check them out, get involved. It’s cheaper and easier than you think to bring clean drinking water to children.

But beyond this, I want you to take time to talk with kids about water usage.  What’s funny about the clip above is that it exposes a ridiculous dichotomy in our world. On the one hand you have billions of people who are killed by waterborne disease because of dirty water. On the other there’s us, frolicking through the water parks. If you are going swimming this summer, you have an opportunity to teach your kids about the value of clean water while they are at the pool

Try this. The next time you are at the pool and lunchtime rolls around, take out your cups and go to the pool and fill them with water. Hopefully this will surprise your children. And you might get a few “gross” or “eewwww” type comments out of them. Use this moment to tell them about the global water crisis. Teach them that the water in the cups–although dirty to them–is far cleaner than the water that children around the world drink.  Tell them the stories of children who instead of going to school must instead hunt for water to carry back to their families.

Here’s another exercise you can do with them. Make them carry an entire bath load of water from the backyard hose to their tub. This is how 1 billion and more people fetch their water each day.  The key here is to help your kids walk in the shoes of another child a world away. As they are contemplating drinking pool water, or straining their muscles carrying bucket loads of bathwater to their tub, you are challenging what our culture tells them is normal.

Water parks may be a first world invention, but you can use them this summer to teach unforgettable lessons to your kids. And that’s a good thing because to fix the global water crisis, we’ll need the help of the next generation–and sooner is better.

Have an awesome summer vacation!

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